Prevention Strategies for Self-Storage Operators

While there is not too much to maintain in the self storage industry, which is partly why it is such a coveted investment, security is always one of the main concerns. When it comes to protecting a self-storage facility, a multi-faceted approach sends a clear message that your site is off-limits to crime. A safer facility will lead to more business, happier customers, and less headaches in the long run.
Here is a very common scenario that we have heard too many times.

Couple rents a unit at a self storage facility. They had no intention of storing anything in the space rented. Their only purpose was to gain rightful access to the property and steal from other tenants. They did this in the cover of night. Using their gate code, the couple enter the property. They park their truck in front of their own unit. Seems normal enough.

With bolt cutters, they cut off the locks on several units and scavenged around. They transferred items to their own space, and hid the evidence by putting a new lock on any doors they had breached. The next night, they return to their unit and load the items in. It was as simple as that.

A Familiar Story

Sadly, this isn’t an unfamiliar story. This scenario occurs more than you would think. Some are perpetrated by tenants, others by thieves just looking for an easy score. These incidents occurred at properties with and without cameras.

Self-storage facilities have always attracted a criminal element. Besides theft, you have vandalism, assaults, drug-related incidents and even homicides. While there’s no way to completely safeguard the business, the right prevention measures can make it less vulnerable.

And it doesn’t seem to matter if your facility is in a high-crime area or not. It’s up to site owners and managers to keep the property and tenants safe.


Fix What’s Broken

There is always the idea that a poor property appearance like a broken office window, dirty unit doors, overgrown shrubs or a parking lot full of potholes, tells people you aren’t concerned about site maintenance, and probably not security, either. And typically this is true. Shoddy places attract more crime.

It falls on the facility manager to make sure everything looks and works as it should. This could mean arming the security system at night or regularly checking the cameras to ensure they’re working correctly. The manager should also regularly check the property to make sure it’s clean and nothing looks abnormal.

Be Vigilant

The fact is self storage managers have a huge role to play in keeping crime from their doorstep. To start, conduct at least one daily walk-through to look for anything out of the ordinary. You should also understand, follow and enforce all company policies and procedures.

Above all, you must keep a close eye on all property activity. Watch what tenants do, and when. Those who hang out in their unit, keep the door closed, attempt to access areas they shouldn’t, or are otherwise snooping around could be up to no good.

Attentive customer service lets tenants know you’re watching everything that transpires at your storage property. For some facilities, this level of vigilance may require additional employees, even if only part-time. If this is going to make things more secure, it is well worth it.


Look for Red Flags

Another way to prevent self storage crime is to screen customers. Background, credit, and rental history checks are all options. Sometimes a simple online search will turn up clues about prospective renters.

Fortunately, there are many signs you can pick up on during the rental process that might indicate a prospect is just looking to gain access to the site for nefarious purposes. If they don’t have proper ID, that’s a clue they’re up to no good.


In the meantime, before you own your own property, and if you are looking for a cost-effective storage option, don’t overlook a storage unit from Mindful Workspaces & Storage. They provide key solutions to many business issues such as extra office space. And remember that storage containers do not require much to set up and are a great temporary alternative for businesses that require storage.

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